Masonwabe Fuma tackled marketing at the annual Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) conference which was an action-packed four-day gathering of leaders in entrepreneurship at universities.
The four-day event took place at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC).
Fuma said: “This year’s lekgotla took place within the unifying theme of entrepreneurship through the arts and was curated by Durban University of Technology’s Faculty of Arts and Design, with the support of the South African Humanities Deans’ Association (SAHUDA).”
He indicated that EDHE had also partnered with the British Council and the Universities South Africa (USAf) and that student entrepreneurs and Tvet colleges were officially included in the programme.
“The purpose of the conference is to share best practice, learn of the latest trends and developments and foster collaboration with regard to entrepreneurship in higher education – all to the benefit of the South African universities, students and economy.”
Fuma was spoke on “Marketing your way to entrepreneurship success” in which he defined marketing as ‘Proposing value for money or economic gains’ and entrepreneurship success as ‘Finding the right product or service at the right time to the right people.’
“This means entrepreneurs need to be able to personally brand themselves through relational storytelling to their target audience, brand associate with other brands which share the same values, principles and, in turn, generate profits through curbing the deep-seated pains of people through offering a product or service to them.
His talk was entitled “Know who you are, who you’re not and know your ‘why’”.
“Personal branding thorough social media, websites and in person through business cards, physical and personal appearance and brand affiliation, the ability to link your brand to other influential and successful brands to assist in positive perceptions which then lead to contracts and business dealings. ”
He said sometimes contract deals happened because of a person’s colourful personality.
Fuma added that the majority of business he had done and opportunities gained were not through application, but by invitation.
“Why? Because I have come to understand that every time I am around people, be it first encounters and conversations, I have come to understand that my smile is my logo, my personality is my business card, how I leave others feeling after having an experience with me then becomes my trademark.
“Big businesses have a way with words and are storytellers. They have budgets for print media- billboards, advertising on media platforms such as TV and radio. They can afford it. Ours is digital media, social media and websites. The importance of networking, noise making and matchmaking is also imperative for the above to succeed.”
He urged entrepreneurs not to partner with people without direction that would reduce their value and business.
“You can lose business just because of someone tagging you on social media and the person who wanted to do business with you may pull back and not want to enter into a contract because of the perception they have of the other brand. Entrepreneurs tend to think they need funding to market themselves. In essence, it’s about the ability to find the right product or service at the right time.”